The European Union and UNICEF have announced a $7 Million USD investment partnership with Italian oil and gas company, Eni, to implement a project which, by 2024, should improve the quality of water for 850,000 people in Basra. It should also help make the country’s water provision climate resilient.
Paula Bulancea, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Iraq, said: “This project with the EU in collaboration with Eni will help to ensure the provision of equitable, sustainable and safe drinking water to vulnerable populations and support sustainable green job creation for young people in Basra city.”
Three out of 5 children do not have access to safe water in Iraq and less than half the schools have access to water in a country that is bearing the brunt of climate change and global warming.
The project will provide safe water to 160,000 children, 40 schools and 21 health centers.
The Iraqi towns of Basra and Thi-Qar have also received the visit of Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq.
Accompanied by other UN and international officials as well as academics, Vojáčková-Sollorano visited the South of the country and met with government officials as well as representatives of civil society to discuss the challenges faced by that part of the country due to climate change.
Vojáčková-Sollorano said: “Water is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for socio-economic development and healthy ecosystems. Water is the common thread that connects all aspects of our life and one of the major issues in tackling climate change.”
Netherlands Ambassador to Iraq, Michel Renenaar, who accompanied the Resident Coordinator, said: “Access to clean and safe water is a basic human right, and this access can only be ensured when there is a good water management system in place. The Netherlands is very pleased to help by sharing our extensive expertise in this field and contributing to improving the lives of citizens in Basra.”